If Sri Lanka have a half-decent Test record over the past 14 months – and they do, winning six and losing only three of their last 13 Tests – it is largely the work of their bowlers.

Take the matches in the UAE last year, for example. In the first Test, Sri Lanka collapsed in the second innings to leave Pakistan needing only 136 for victory, before Rangana Herath drew on his famed reserves of cricketing fortitude and body-slammed Pakistan for what felt like the millionth time in his career, taking six wickets as they crashed to 114 all out. In the next Test, the day-nighter in Dubai, Sri Lanka were all out for 96 in their second innings, before the bowlers held it together through a tough period in which they were forced to contend with a dew-moistened ball, then snuffed out the Pakistan chase when the match resumed the next afternoon.